Weekly Education Update
DRC, Sudan, South Sudan
Although many observers questioned whether or not the country would be prepared for elections, they occurred on Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday this week. However, problems with voting infrastructure and allegations of fraud plagued the process. Thousands of registered voters were missing from electoral rolls, polling stations lacked the adequate number of ballots or even ballots at all, and there was general confusion about where to vote in general. Allegations of fraud included pre-ticket ballots, pre-stuffed ballots and complications with ballots continually being flown into the country still today.
Perceptions of fraud led to violence in Kananga, a stronghold of opposition leader Tshisekedi, and in Lubumbashi, where armed men attacked a polling station and burned election materials.
Despite these problems, the election has been met with both positive and negative responses both in the DRC and abroad. While five electoral observer groups hailed the elections as a ‘success’, others have questioned the legitimacy of the elections, including Presidential candidates, Congolese diaspora members and non-governmental organizations working in the region.
Given the widespread irregularities in the electoral process, the results have already been called into question far before CENI (national electoral commission) is prepared to announce them. Four presidential candidates – Kamerhe, Kengo, Mbusa and Bombale – have already spoken out against the legitimacy of the results, while both Tshisekedi and Kabila have said they will respect the results. Analyst Jason Stearns says this is because both candidates believe they have a strong chance for victory; however what the response will be when the winner is finally announced is unclear.
Though there is widespread debate over who won the election, it is extremely difficult to say at this time though analysts are confident it will come down to a contest between Tshisekedi and Kabila. However in either case, there is a threat of violence.
The international community also reflects divisions in Congolese society, as support for either the opposition candidate or the incumbent varies. Laura Seay, professor and blogger wrote “Leaders in the Great Lakes region have reason to prefer a Kabila victory as well. Most important among them is Rwandan President Paul Kagame, with whom Kabila privately reached a rapprochement in 2009 that led to increased stability in the eastern Kivu provinces.” She also notes that in contrast, within the Congolese diaspora there is widespread support for Tshisekedi.
Though the voting has officially ended, the logistical challenges continue. Tallying the vote will prove to be extremely difficult and questions over transparency have already been raised. The facts that the ballots totaled 56 pages and there were over 60,000 polling locations wills not make this an easy task.
Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, head of the Mai Mai and currently a candidate for parliamentary office despite an arrest warrant, has been added to a list of individuals on a travel ban and assets freeze by France, Britain and the United States. The UN also sanctioned the war criminal.
The United Nations Refugee Agency, as part of their 16 Days of Activism, releases a statement on the effects of rape on spouses and families in the DRC.
South Sudan, Sudan
Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of the Republic of South Sudan and leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), has warned against violence and called for religious cooperation with the state in an address broadcast on South Sudan television.
A special court sentenced to death by hanging seven rebel members of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), who are accused of attacking a commercial convoy last year.
A Kenyan court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in Darfur. Sudan has ordered the expulsion of the Kenyan ambassador after the announcement of the arrest warrant.
The African Union imposed a formal ban on the Ugandan rebel group—the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)—officially designating the notorious group a terrorist organization.
The South Sudan government reacted negatively to reports that Sudan plans to take 23% of the new country’s oil exports, saying it will consider suspending oil production if north Sudan continues to impose high transportation and refinery cost
The education update is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information contact the following:
Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith email@example.com
DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com